A manufacturer that grew to a publicly traded company selling millions in ammunition every year is packing up their supplies and leaving Payson.
AMMO, Inc. announced it is leaving its facility at the Payson Industrial Park, 1304 W. Red Baron Road, and building a new, larger facility in Manitowoc, Wisc.
Tod Wagenhals, executive vice president, said they tried to stay in Payson, but ultimately could not secure enough space for the growing company.
The company has offered all 100 Payson employees’ jobs at the new Wisconsin facility as well as covering moving expenses. So far, 10-12 employees have indicated they will make the move.
The company will begin moving equipment in April, shuffling their rifle round equipment first, followed by revolver and 9mm operations.
Headquartered in Scottsdale, AMMO, Inc. designs and manufactures a variety of ammunition lines, including for law enforcement, military, sport shooting and self-defense use. CEO Fred Wagenhals, Tod’s father, founded the company in 2016. At the time, Advanced Tactical Armament Concepts (ATAC) was manufacturing ammo out of the Red Baron location. When ATAC went into receivership, Wagenhals bought certain assets of the company and started up AMMO, Inc. out of the same location.
The company has since only grown. Tod said they estimate $200 million in sales next year.
In January, AMMO announced it agreed with the City of Manitowoc, to acquire more than 35 acres in the Manitowoc Industrial Park (MIP) for a 160,000-square-foot loaded ammunition and brass casing manufacturing plant.
The move follows the company in 2019, spending $27 million to buy Jagemann Stamping Company’s (JSC) brass casings division, which operates out of a 50,000-square-foot facility in the MIP.
Tod said they were shipping the brass casings to Payson for loading, so moving the entire operation to Wisconsin makes sense from a logistical standpoint.
AMMO’s current plans call for constructing the new $12 million facility in the MIP by the summer of 2022. In the interim, the company will operate out of the JSC location and have leased additional space.
Tod said they tried for years to expand in Payson, including looking at building a new facility at the end of Granite Dells Road, but plans never panned out.
Since they could not expand at the airport industrial park, they ultimately looked elsewhere.
“We hate to leave Payson,” he said. “It has been very, very good to us. We wish the town all the best and we wish we could have worked something out.”
Tod said they let employees know they were moving the plant two months ago, giving them final details last week.
He said they plan to hold a job fair for those employees that choose to stay in Payson hoping to find them jobs in the community.
While Payson is losing 100 jobs, Manitowoc is gaining an estimated 125 new jobs.
“We are excited AMMO has selected Manitowoc to expand its manufacturing operations, bringing excellent paying jobs that will make a difference in our community,” said Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels in an AMMO, Inc. press release. “We look forward to developing a strong partnership with the AMMO team — a partnership which we believe will lead to future growth down the road and further solidify Manitowoc as a manufacturing hub for many different industries.”